This festive cheese log was inspired by a goat cheese wrapped in cranberry sauce sold by Trader Joe's. We tried it on a whim and found the combination of rich, creamy cheese and tart, sweet cranberries addictive.
But we thought we could do better. We wanted a higher cranberry-to-cheese ratio. We also thought making the cranberry sauce from fresh berries would improve the appearance of the final product (it did).
Serve this with bread or crackers. And once it is wrapped in plastic, the cheese travels well. Just wait to unwrap it until you get to your destination. It also can be prepared a day or two ahead of time.
CRANBERRY GOAT CHEESE LOG
Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active)
Servings: 8 servings
1⁄4-ounce package of gelatin
1⁄4 cup water
12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup cranberry juice
1⁄4 cup raspberry or orange liqueur
16-ounce log goat cheese
In a small glass combine the gelatin and water. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high, combine the cranberries, cinnamon, sugar, cranberry juice and liqueur. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the gelatin mixture and boil until the mixture resembles a very thick jelly or compote.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Place the saucepan in the ice bath to cool.
Once the cranberry sauce has cooled, lay an 18-inch sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Spoon about 1⁄2 cup of the cranberry sauce into an even rectangle slightly longer than the goat cheese log. Place the goat cheese on top of the sauce.
Spoon the remaining cranberry sauce mixture over the log, coating it evenly. Gently roll the log up in the wrap, using the plastic to mold the sauce evenly around the cheese. Twist each end closed. Freeze to allow the cranberry mixture to set, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the freezer and gently remove the plastic wrap on a cutting board. Use dental floss (unflavored) or string to slice the log into rounds. Serve with toasted pita wedges or crackers.